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MOSCOW: May 20, 2007
The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus At a Reception Hosted By President Vladimir Putin

On May 19, the birthday of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the members of the official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were welcomed at a reception hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Granovitaya Palace in the Kremlin. During the reception, His Eminence greeted the President with the following words:

“Your Excellency, Deeply-esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich, Your Holiness, Beloved brothers and sisters!

“First of all, I wish to express from the depths of my soul my heartfelt gratitude for your invitation to visit you, for the participation and joint prayer upon the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, for your care for the Russian people in the Fatherland and abroad.

“Today, I and my companions participated in the great consecration of a church dedicated to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia who suffered in Butovo. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” wrote Tertullian. Today we see how the podvigi , sufferings and death for Christ endured by the martyrs in the 20 th century, killed by the hands of atheists, strike deep into the souls of Russian people, who then find their way to church and return to their historic roots. In church, they come face to face with God, they approach Him, they are sanctified and reborn, following the example of faith and devotion of their ancestors who stood for truth, for our Holy Russian ideals, which we had tried to preserve in the difficult circumstances of exile. And we preserved them in order to serve Russia and our people. It is our moral duty is to include ourselves in this process of the rebirth of Russia and fulfill the mission of the Russian emigration, that is, to bring back to Russia the great inheritance given to us by our ancestors.

“On this blessed day and hour of our communion, I prayerfully wish you, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, the bountiful help of God in carrying out your lofty duties. In memory of the reestablishment of the fullness of brotherly communion and unity within the Local Russian Orthodox Church, I ask that you accept this gift—an icon of the Kursk-Root Mother of God, the Protectress of the Russian diaspora. May She preserve you, showing you the way in your service to the Russian people!”